“I will bless those who bless you, . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:3
There are some moments in Scripture that I would have choreographed a little differently if it had been up to me. Now, before you start writing in to tell me I’m a heretic, please know that I believe wholeheartedly in the final authority of Scripture and the sovereignty of God. I don’t want to risk a lightning bolt and am not slacking off in my theology!
But if you or I were consulted about some of these moments in Scripture, we might have orchestrated them with a little more fanfare. For instance, the moment when Adam woke up to find Eve before him had to be a “fireworks, roses, and violins” kind of moment! Or what about the birth of Christ? Though God had a purpose in it, we probably would have chosen something a little more dramatic than a dingy stable and a few shepherds.
I have the same kinds of thoughts when I read through Genesis 12:1-3. This conversation between Abraham and God occurs in the middle of nowhere. I think of Abraham as a great patriarch, but in this moment he is an uninitiated nomad with no doubt an idolatrous background. And yet, here in this conversation between God and a rather unlikely person, God makes an earth-shattering promise. God shows up and tells Abraham that he would become a great nation. Then God promises—this is the moment we would cue the drum roll and a thousand-trumpet fanfare—that through him, “All peoples on earth will be blessed.”
This is one of the first prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ through the seed of Abraham. Take it personally—you and I, who are followers of Jesus today, are recipients of the phenomenal benefits of that promise.
Both genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels trace His lineage back to Abraham. Through the entire Old Testament, even when it seemed that the promise had been jeopardized by the unfaithfulness of Israel, God was faithfully preparing to keep His promise to Abraham. And then the moment arrived when the promise was fulfilled. On the hill of Calvary, it was a descendant of Abraham hanging on the cross, giving His life for us so that, as the promise predicted, you and I could be “blessed” in massive proportion. And it all started with a promise made to a wandering nomad over 4,000 years ago. No cheering crowds or angelic choirs—just God, His promise, and an unlikely recipient.
And here is the good news. God still shows up to speak to rather unassuming people like you and me. Every time we read His promises to us it is a profound moment. Behind every promise and plan He lays out for us in His Word, there are ramifications of strategic proportions. You may not hear a lot of fanfare, but the God who was faithful to Abraham will be faithful to His promises to you! So strike up the band—drum roll, please—God still speaks and delivers on His promises! Are you listening? Do you believe?
- Think of a specific promise that God has made to you. Perhaps it’s that His grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9), or that His presence is always with you 24/7 so you need not fear anything (Hebrews 13:5). Think of His promise to give you wisdom when you need it (James 1:5) and to supply your needs as you are faithful to Him (Philippians 4:19). Or perhaps it’s His promise to forgive your sins as you confess them to Him (1 John 1:9). Do you really believe that the promises are true? If He waits a while to fulfill a promise in your life, will He find you still trusting?
- What would you expect to experience if your heart was fully confident of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise? Words like peace, perseverance, patience, and praise in advance of the provision should come to mind!
- Could you cling to His promise even if it weren’t fulfilled in your lifetime?